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Archdiocese must account for Illinois priests in scathing Pa. report: Madigan

Holy Name Cathedral | Sun-Times files

Illinois Attorney Gen. Lisa Madigan announced Thursday that she will meet with Chicago Archdiocese officials to discuss seven priests with Illinois connections that were included in a scathing Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sex abuse.

“The Catholic Church has a moral obligation to provide its parishioners and the public a complete and accurate accounting of all sexually inappropriate behavior involving priests in Illinois,” Madigan said in a statement.

“I plan to reach out to the other dioceses in Illinois to have the same conversation and expect the bishops will agree and cooperate fully. If not, I will work with states attorneys and law enforcement throughout Illinois to investigate.”

Chicago Archdiocese officials said Thursday evening they “look forward to discussing our policies and procedures related to misconduct issues” with Madigan.

“We have worked cooperatively with the Cook County and Lake County State’s Attorneys for many years. Since 2002, the Archdiocese of Chicago has reported all abuse allegations to the proper civil authorities,” an archdiocese statement said. “We also met with members of the office of the Cook County State’s Attorney and they reviewed our clergy files in 1992, 2002 and 2015.”


The grand jury report released earlier this month identified about 300 Catholic priests accused of molesting more than 1,000 children in Pennsylvania dating back to the 1940s, with claims of a systematic coverup by senior church leaders that used the same methods unearthed in the initial clergy sex-abuse scandal that broke nationwide in 2002.

Among the Chicago-area priests named in the new report is the Rev. Raymond Lukac, a known “problem priest” accused of abusing an 11-year-old girl in the rectory of St. Stanislaus parish in Posen in the early 1960s.

The Rev. Gregory Furjanic is also named for unspecified accusations predating his 2003 arrival to Chicago to serve the Croatian Franciscan Friars, and the Rev. Jerry Kucan for a series of abuses in Pennsylvania before he was placed in Chicago’s St. Jerome parish in 1982. Kucan also was assigned to St. Anthony in 1986, Sacred Heart in 1994 and St. Anthony’s Friary in 1995.

The Rev. Robert Spangenberg was accused in the report of abusing boys in Pennsylvania after serving in the 1980s as chaplain at Chicago’s St. Francis de Sale High School.

Those four priests are all dead. It wasn’t immediately clear which other priests in the report were being scrutinized by Madigan’s office.

In 2014, the Chicago Archdiocese began releasing its documents online about priests faced with substantiated abuse allegations.

Cardinal Blase Cupich, in a letter to congregants last week, called the latest grand jury report allegations “appallingly familiar” while asking fellow bishops to “resolve to face our failures and hold each other accountable.”

Cupich also noted that “the vast majority of abuses” in the new grand jury report “occurred decades ago,” writing that “just two of the 300 priests named in the text were accused within the past decade, and both were reported to civil authorities.

“This excuses nothing, and we can never become complacent about our responsibility to protect children and adults from abuse and harassment, but it does say something about the effects of our post-2002 policies.”

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